Collaborating in Washington State

This is my first blog entry! I am excited to share the behind-the-scenes of my work as a composer, my upcoming projects, the reasoning (and eventual lack of reasoning) for doing the thing I dreamed of doing since I was in my early teens: writing music!

My current project is the recording of my second CD of original jazz big band compositions with the Cassio Vianna Jazz Orchestra. Why write music for jazz big band? As a College band director and educator, I see the impact that this music can have in the lives of students, professional performers, and audiences. I have been writing for college bands and professional groups for a while now; it's a skill I have developed, I love doing it, and I have so many ideas! I can't just let these ideas go away!  

In a world where few people buy CDs, and where big band touring is an almost impossible task, why would anyone keep writing and recording this type of music? Good question; I often wonder about that too! Passion and self-fulfillment is what comes to mind. But there's more…

Since arriving in Washington State in 2018, I have wanted to connect with the great jazz performers in the region, but our 2nd child was born a few months after my arrival, and the COVID pandemic hit the following year, all of which made it much harder to meet, perform and connect with other musicians until 2022. In 2023, when I finally decided to begin this project, I reached out to these amazing musicians and my network gradually began to expand. I guess that's another answer to the question of writing for jazz big band: the desire for connection is at the core of this project!

The musicians in our first session were: Tom Bergeron, Mark Taylor, Alexey Nikolaev, Kareem Kandi, Kate Olson (saxes); Andy Omdahl, Michael Van Bebber, Keith Karns, Carter Eng (trumpets); Nathan Vetter, Conner Eisenmenger, Ryan Wagner, Nelson Bell (trombones); David Lee Joyner (piano), Brian Monroney (guitar), Clipper Anderson (acoustic bass), Wagner Trindade (electric bass), and Mark Ivester (drums). Other great musicians will be joining our second session in August.

I hope you will join me on this journey. I plan to write about particular arrangements, compositional ideas, recording sessions, and stories from this very exciting time in my life. 

Your support for this project and your comments are very welcome. I look forward to sharing stories with you!          



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